As seen in Gun World magazine
A Family’s Best Friend
Important Tips For Adding A
Protection Dog To Your Home
If your vision of a protection dog involves a
malnourished canine chained to a junkyard pile,
you’ve been watching too many Hollywood movies.
The reality is that you can find the perfect
combination of a home protection dog and a family
pet, as long as you know where to look.
Employing a dog as an addition to your home
protection plan can be an excellent way to deter
criminals and ensure that you’ll be defended by your
family pet if a crisis should strike. But you can’t do
this with just any animal.
“I have answered a million alarm calls where
there are one or more dogs in the house and I have
to make entry (broken window/door forced open),
and all I have to do is make friends with the dog
first,” says Officer Rusty Echols with the Atlanta
Police Department. “They really can’t tell who is
friendly or not. The exception to that rule is a
professionally trained guard dog or the dogs that I
deal with in the ghettos where drug dealers beat
and starve the dogs to make them vicious.”
While you certainly don’t want a vicious, starving
dog in your home, visiting a professional dog trainer
should be on your checklist if you’re in the market
for a home protection pet.
DOGS ARE IDENTIFIED AS PUPPIES
Not every dog can be trained to protect your
home—it takes a combination of proper breeding
and sophisticated training to end up with the right
family dog that can serve as a protector. But the key
to ensuring that the appropriate dog ends up
watching over your home shows itself during the
“Early on, we have to identify the dogs that are talented enough to do the job,” says Wayne Simanovich, who has bred and trained award-winning protection dogs for 33 years. “Selection is the most important part of the process, because the dog has to have the drive to do it,” he says. “We start training those dogs at about 12 weeks, but it’s closer to a year before we really can confirm which dogs are trainable for this type of work.”
Simanovich works with German Shepherds because of their combination of skills and intelligence.
“The German Shepherd has been bred for well over 100 years for this type of work,” he says.
“They are not only manageable
and easy to handle, but also
determined in the protection
phase if need be. While there are
other great breeds, including the
Belgian Malinois, the German
Shepherd combines the
protection traits with also being a
nice family dog.”
Despite the German
Shepherd’s amazing suitability for
protection, not every dog of this
breed will be an excellent home
“There are genetic
differences that no amount of
training can overcome,”
Simanovich says. “It’s like saying,
‘If I practice basketball all day, I’ll
be as good as Michael Jordan.’
That’s why having a professional
select the right dog is key.”
DON’T EXPECT DOGS TO BE IN CONSTANT ATTACK MODE
Your protection dog should first and foremost fit into your family—you shouldn’t expect it to be standing at the door ready to attack at all times. The dog should be able to handle the typical American family chaos without jumping on the defensive at all times, Simanovich says. Bringing in groceries with the door open while the kids are running in and out is something that the dog should be able to handle easily.
The dog’s protection skills will allow you to feel more secure both day and night.
“We have placed dogs with a lot of people who maybe didn’t even want a dog, but they’ve had bad things happen,” Simanovich says. “We get calls from people who may not want or need a dog, but restraining orders don’t work, security systems have a lagtime before they work, and a firearm won’t wake you up at night, so they get one of our dogs. And then they’ll say to us, ‘How did I go all these years without this?’” Properly trained protection dogs will attack only if they must.
“In 33 years of training dogs for home protection, I only know of three situations in which the dog had to bite, and two of those were domestic violence,” Simanovich says. “However, it’s impossible to quantify how many times our dogs have deterred a potential crime. The visual deterrent and the threat of a well-trained dog is all that is needed 99.9 percent of the time to get a criminal to avoid your house and move on to one that would be easier to invade.”
DELIVERED TO YOUR DOOR
Simanovich trains his dogs at his North Carolina facility, but can deliver
them all over the world. When a family first calls him, he discusses their
specific needs so he can custom train a dog to meet their family
situation. “The waiting time for a dog is typically 30 to 60 days, and that
gives us time to train it for what the family needs. However, if there’s a
problem or an emergency, we can get a protection dog anywhere in North
America within 24 hours.”
Once Simanovich takes a dog to its family, his trainers stay in the area
for a few nights and work with the family on various principles to ensure
that the dog’s integration in the home goes smoothly.
Article by Torrey Kim
To subscribe to Gun World magazine,